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Post-Match Quotes: USA @ TRI

Following are post-match quotes from the USA's 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago in the final match of 2002 CONCACAD World Cup Qualifying play.

BRUCE ARENA, head coach U.S. Men's National Team

“A tough game today.  Obviously the conditions were difficult out there with the heat and humidity.  We’re happy that qualifying is now over and we can fully place our attention on preparing for the World Cup. I thought our guys did well. It was a pretty even game. I think the result was pretty fair for both teams.”

“All in all, I think we did a decent job passing the ball today and keeping possession. I think our major breakdown we had was our inability to play some good, quality crosses in front of the goal. We never gave ourselves a good chance to create any good goalscoring opportunities in the second half. The T&T team did a good job dropping off and dealing with runners in the box. They gave us a little space on the flanks to cross balls and we didn’t do a good job with that. “

On the the decision making process for the substitutions:
“We had to take Beasley out at halftime. He suffered a slight concussion.  Besides that, Moore was a little fatigued. We were going to take him out at 60 minutes but he hung in there. I thought Landon [Donovan] didn’t do well with the heat. That’s the reason we pulled him. At the end of the game we brought Marsch in just to hold a little bit and push O’Brien a little bit more forward, hoping that we could create a few more chances off of that. I thought Beasley had a good first half. It was a shame he had to come off. It was good to get Josh Wolff back on the field, but as you can see he has a way to go. Hopefully the next couple months we’ll give him an opportunity to get back, as well as Mathis, McBride and some others. Hopefully we can now continue to move forward.”

On the play of Zach Thornton:
“Zach did well. I don’t think he was tested that much, but the couple of times he was he kept his composure. The one time that Angus Eve had a chance, he well to come out and close the angle down and making himself big.”

On the play of John O’Brien:
“John did well today.  He and Jovan split some of the responsibilities in that position. In the first half we got caught a little bit with both Jovan [Kirovski] and John pushing forwards. We got caught with a couple counters when they were able to find Arnold Dwarika, who I thought had a good game for T&T. I think John had a good performance today.”

ZACH THORNTON, goalkeeper U.S. Men's National Team & Chevrolet Man of the Match

On playing in his first World Cup qualifying match:
“It’s been a while since I’ve played with the national team, so in the first couple minutes I was just settling in and getting used to playing with the guys again. I felt very comfortable.”

On the performance of the defense:
“I thought the defense did a great job with the heat and the conditions.  Besides the two saves I made I didn’t have to do much at all today.”

On his goals for the next year:
“My goal right now is to be the third goalkeeper for the World Cup.  I just have to keep working hard and do well when I get a chance, and hopefully Bruce will select me.”

JEFF AGOOS, defender U.S. Men's National Team

“We would have liked to have gotten a win in our last game, but I think getting a tie wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I think we did a pretty solid job today. We could have finished off a couple things in the final third, but overall I think it was a good way to end the qualification process.”

On how the conditions affected the match:
“I think after 20 minutes both teams seemed to hit the wall. The ball slowed down, the running off the ball was spotty, and the game sort of took a toll because of the heat. “

On the play of Zach Thornton:
“Well, when you get a shutout in your first World Cup qualifier you’re obviously doing something right. I think he made good decisions today, and obviously came up big on a couple saves and did what we needed him to do.”

JOVAN KIROVSKI, midfielder U.S. Men's National Team 

On the playing in the attacking midfield role:
“It’s a position I’m very comfortable with because I’ve been playing there all season with Crystal Palace. I think the heat and humidity was very difficult for the European-based players
today, but I think the team responded well.”

On playing in central midfield with John O’Brien:
“I think we play very well together. We’re both good around the ball, and both good with the ball at our feet. John defends more, which allows me to get forward a lot more, so it’s a good combination. Similarly, when John had the ball it allowed me to push into space. Having said that, the way we were playing in the 4-4-2 today I had to play a deeper role as well.”